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What Delights God the Most?

I am writing COME AND SEE and decided this last chapter might make a good blog. My last blog is like this one; I am still thinking about how much David and Peter’s heart affected God. This chapter, while following the chronology of events in the Bible, mirrors the same theme.

Hope you enjoy. If you feel like commenting, please do . . . Others might enjoy what the Lord shows you through the many thoughts that might come through the retelling of this amazing relationship Peter and Jesus shared.

(By the way, the background of this website is the Sea of Galilee at the place where this story is strongly believed to have taken place. I stood on the highest rise of the shore when taking this picture, and behind me is a flat plain near Capernaum, at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus fed the multitude and, later that night, likely walked on water from here.)

***

 

Chapter 16

“Do as You Have Seen Me Do.”

 

When Jesus had called the Twelve together,

he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons

and to cure diseases, and he sent them out

to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-5

 

Simon Peter

 

Once I walked on water. Everybody talks about my faith, and doubt, regarding it—and the songs, poems, and who but the Lord knows the amount of art it inspired since then? It’s been preached, sung, and painted countless times. Of course, the part of my near-death by drowning is well-established.

Most agree, it took bold faith on my part to step out of the boat onto tossing waves, never mind the doubting and sinking part for now.

When I recall the experience, I see something quite the opposite. I see only one thing: Jesus’ reactions to me.

Imagine, Jesus believed in me—that I could do the same supernatural thing he was doing. It took more trust on his part to receive me onto those dangerous waves than it did for me to trust him. He knew I could do it.

That, I tell you, amazes me. You see, my faith in him so often failed me. My downfalls are historical facts of renown. I sank after a few steps only because I stopped believing I could do it. I worried the waves would be too much; I thought he would need to save me or I’d drown. And, that part was true; he did end up having to save me.

When I first saw him coming to us on the waves, I was thrilled. I called out to him, asking him to let me come to him. Seeing him, I felt invincible. He called back, “Come!”

I will never forget his look of delight in me when I leaped out of the boat.

Even though this miracle lasted only a few steps, I can’t begin to describe the exhilaration I felt.

The others in the boat could not understand what caused the preposterous thought to come into my head. Although such a foolhardy idea as climbing out of the boat seemed sudden, let me explain how it gradually came about.

Prior to my walking on the water, Jesus told us we were ready to minister to people in his name. This is what he said on the mount in Galilee, as he touched each one of us: “I give you authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, and proclaim God’s kingdom. Do as you have seen me do.” Then he sent us out two-by-two. According to his word, we accomplished signs and wonders and returned to him full of excitement, with testimonies of having done all he said we could do.

Shortly after, Herod beheaded John the Baptist. After learning of it, Jesus wished to be alone and so we set off in our boat to find a solitary place.  But the crowds watched us from the shoreline and, seeing him in the boat, they trailed along with us along the water’s edge. Seeing this, Jesus changed his mind, and we brought the boat to shore so he could minister to them—teaching and healing them until it grew late. He fed all of us with five loaves of bread and two fish. We ended up with twelve baskets of leftovers after he had fed thousands of people.

After all of this, he sent us twelve off in our boat to cross the lake and he sent the entire crowd to their homes. He still wanted time alone with his Father.

In the middle of the night, seeing our struggle against the wind and waves, he came to us, walking on the water.

Seeing him then, I knew he could do anything. He had just fed a multitude from practically nothing. The fact that he had no boat was not a problem for him. He’d come to our rescue.

My expectations of Jesus soared; I had worked a few miracles in his name, just days before. If he told me I could heal the sick, I could, and did. If he told me I could preach the kingdom in his name, I did so. The idea struck me that, if he was willing, I could do the same things he did and I wanted to test my theory.

When I sank, he reached for me, and scolded me with a laugh. “Why did you doubt?”

But I saw his face beaming at me—he was delighted that I’d given it a try.

Once, I did something worse than sink. It nearly destroyed me when I betrayed him. But, as it was on the water, he pulled me up from the threatening depth that nearly took my life. His look of sorrow for me became my worst memory of him.

I’ve learned an important thing: He trusts me to trust him. Even when I denied him, he trusted me to return to him and love him more than ever.

***

Jesus had found, in Peter, a man willing to believe and do the impossible.

In Peter’s letter to the churches in 64 A.D., he wrote, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Peter saw himself and every believer as living stones. Considering Jesus’ nickname for him, the Rock, Peter certainly was that. He became a foundation stone placed directly upon the chief Cornerstone. Peter, the first to recognize Jesus for who he was, his proclamation of faith the first. Peter was first to receive keys to the Kingdom of heaven—and he found himself in a key place in the Lord’s plans, in his Spiritual House—the Church.

Are we to believe Peter’s faith was what so endeared him to the Lord in the first place?

Let’s look closely. Jesus liked being with Peter. You see it throughout all the gospel events. He was one of the three in Jesus’ inner circle. Peter, spontaneous and emotional Peter, was honest, authentic, and dedicated. Outspoken about his feelings for Jesus, he was also the first to preach the Good News of Jesus in public, convincing a couple thousand festival pilgrims to believe in Jesus and be baptized.  Peter was a man of faith-in-action. Is this what captured the Lord’s heart?

Perhaps it’s what Jesus first saw in Peter. Like King David—Peter’s heart was a heart after God’s own heart. Peter sought and found the wonder of God’s particular love for him.

Peter responded to his Lord like a wick to the flame. He returned love for love, which brightened all around him. Known for his bold, relentless faith and utter dependence on Jesus, Peter took hold of the keys Jesus gave him to the Kingdom, keys of Jesus’ own power and authority.

1 Comment

  1. Kim
    Mar 20, 2015

    I am finally reading this blog post. It’s gorgeous, Margaret. I’ve always related to Peter, brash, never subtle, quick trigger finger Peter. Thanks for following your calling and pointing out the not always obvious to this sorta brash follower!

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